Skippers Blog: Leaving Fortaleza, Brazil, for the 1000nm sail to Cayenne, French Guyana.
On 11th March my new crew arrived, Thomas Thiis, and Killian Dadi. Jan Linquist disembarked on the morning of 12th March. Thanks to Jan for coming to do the duo-sail from Salvador to Fortaleza.
We (the new crew and I) had to visit the three offices in order to clear out of Brazil and from the state of Mucuripé – federal police and immigration (passports to be stamped), federal fiscal office (temporary importation of boat signed off) and the Port Captain. Then a bit of last minute shopping before returning on board to enjoy a welcome/ farewell supper for crew change.
We had an engine problem to fix before leaving Fortaleza, because when we arrived, the engine would not stop, and we had to starve it for air to get it to stop. This was a new one for me. We then discovered that the control panel for the engine was completely dead, and an engineer came on board in the early morning of 12th March to fix it. In the end – and as so often in the case of diesel engines – it was something simple, namely the large cable with all the wires from the engine to the control panel had become disconnected. We think it was when Jan and I were fixing the sound proofing for the generator set; the cable joint was in a black box, and so we did not notice. All was well in time for us to leave about 10am with the outgoing tide.
Since leaving we have had some tropical downpours and squalls, but mostly good NE winds, and a current taking us towards French Guyana (about 335 degrees magnetic). So in the first 24 hours we made a very respectable 140 nautical miles towards our destination, passing many fishing boats, tankers, cargo ships and oil rigs on the way. We enjoyed a mostly starry sky with a small moon.
The crew seems happy, and with three of us we can get better sleep.
We have allowed 10 days to get to Cayenne, but at the present speed it could be 7 or 8 days. No doubt we will experience several changes in weather. Now we are about 2 degrees or 120 nm south of the Equator, and 40 degrees west of Greenwich. We should cross the equator tomorrow, and will need to make offerings to Neptune to ensure a safe onward passage!